Exceptional Tween Frienships-What I Thought I’d Never Have To Face

When I found out Michael had autism everything I had thought his life would be became one big question mark. Many other parents have shared this same insight on finding out that their child is different. They mourn the child that he/she will never be, what they will (or may) never do, and they worry about the missed milestones. You know what though? This isn’t always the case. Sometimes your Exceptional Child will surprise you and actually do the milestones then surpass them. Yes, you heard me correctly! Let’s take peer groups. Just like most special needs kids are not supposed to be interested in socializing (Michael SO is), many also do not care about peer groups. Michael SO cares. He is like a neuro typical peer copying for better or worse what his friends do. I feel both blessed by his need to fit in and worried about it, as any parent would be. Though it is great he wants to be accepted by his friends we also want him to learn to think for himself. This is easier said than done for a child who has a limited grasp of social skills and norms of society through his neurologically different way of seeing the world. It also means he will be slower to learn to think for himself, but then I am celebrating the fact that he is able to argue with us about thinking for himself. And argue he does these days. 😉

For sure these are all victories and milestones I was not sure we would be facing with a son who has autism. Now as he is moving into puberty, all the sexual and romantic feelings towards women have started emerging. Again, it is in his way, as only it would be, but these were things I was not sure Michael would ever experience. Sometimes kids on the spectrum have no interest in these things. It has provided us with additional challenges on how to parent Michael, but Dad and I are up for that challenge and know that with the great tools we have found, we will be in a position to help Michael through it.

The thing is, that sometimes it so hard navigating this seesaw of exceptional brains and neuro typical brain thinking that Michael is capable of. It certainly keeps me and Dad on our toes, but can be stressful too. Thank goodness we have a community to share this with, and of course a great kid who, in the end, is just himself and does not fit into any category, nor should he. This goes for any other child really.

Exceptional Parents, how often have your Exceptional Children surprised you by what they have shown you they can do or are capable of? Remember, a textbook definition of autism is just that, a generalization. Always expect the unexpected from your child. It will happen in good and bad ways. Don’t worry about the bad. There you will find the strategies to help them. As far as the good, enjoy it. This will help them grow confidently into who you know they can become. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

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My Child Was Me-Coming To The Realization of Your Own Exceptional Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Michael is being too hard on himself and hates when people make mistakes. Michael has a hard time controlling his fear and anger. Michael is scared. Wow. Michael is me. Or at least was me when I was a little girl. Albeit, a more intense ASD/ADHD version of me, but me nonetheless. While he expresses his fear of failure and anger by not stopping to think or regulate, I did it by pushing my fears inside and having crying spells at eleven years old. Still, it is the same. Self-regulation was something it took me to adulthood to learn how to use. On the days when I become discouraged with Michael,  I think why can’t he control his anger better? Why is he scared, he has the tools to handle this? I remember at 11 the dark times I went through. I started thinking back to those times last year when Michael turned 11. It may have been the first time I actually began to hear the negative self-talk beginning in my head. At first, I ignored it and pushed it down. During my tweens and  teens though with hormones and self-esteem issues, it was difficult. Thank goodness I had an understanding mother who repeatedly told me, “these years will be the hardest. You will find yourself in adulthood.” She was right! It happened, though it took me to my mid thirties until I was finally at peace with myself.

I’m trying to remember this now as I navigate extreme tween puberty with Michael where he ranges from annoyed, to condescending, to aggressive, then  to weepy and back again to the happy little boy he used to be. Friends and girls are at the top of the list.  Sexuality, music, video games, and swearing to be cool figure in there too. If this is tween puberty what will the rest of teen puberty look like I think. Eek!  But seriously, I am starting to not only have sympathy for Michael dealing with all of this AND his different brain, but seeing how even though it was not to the same intensity, there is not a whole lot of difference between my tween/teen experience and Michael’s. It’s hard for a lot of Exceptional Parents to handle. My child really does not fall far from the tree, so how can I judge him/her when I struggled in many of the same ways as he does now? I see and hear myself doing many of the same things right, (and some wrong) like my Mom did. No parent is perfect, after all. But then I think, compassion for Michael starts with compassion for me. When I pull my emotional self (inner and outer) together, I can parent him all that much better and set a good example for how to handle things in a healthier way. I don’t want him to be the scared, frustrated, type A kid who is afraid to speak his mind.  I want him to learn calming strategies before his thirties, or else he is  just running from himself as I did for so many years. I wanted to be everyone but me. This is never a good thing, because who we each are is a beautiful thing as we are all individuals with our own special gifts to offer the world.

I’ve come a long way as a woman and as a Mom. I want to be able to help Michael into adulthood avoid some of the pain of not being in touch with himself, and for the rest, being the soft cushion where he can rest his head when he is scared and overwhelmed. I think I am still that for him, at least most of the time. 🙂

Exceptional Parents, how like or unlike you is your Exceptional Child? A friend once told me it is good that I see so much of me in Michael. She was right, though it took me awhile to appreciate this fact. You see, recognizing where your child needs help is great if you’ve already tackled it yourself. If you have not come to terms with parts of yourself that need healing though, this is much more challenging. Don’t worry though. Take heart. You are an adult now and can work on healing your own inner self. Therapy, meditation, exercise, and any type of self-care will help you get in touch with your inner being, in order to heal you and help your child through their own challenges. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.  

5 Ways To Handle Oppositional Behavior and Keep Your Sense of Humour

So it’s no secret that Michael is oppositional. So are a lot of kids with ADHD and ASD. What is surprising is how much it can not only wear a parent down, but also test your love for your child. It’s hard not to take them personally when they are being rude and testing limits. Still, one of the most important tools I’ve learned in navigating Michael’s negative comebacks, has been using humor as an antidote. Laughing at the little things on the outside. The bigger things are not laughable of course, but learning how to take 5 and realize your child’s struggle is with themselves and not you, will help make it easier to handle the tough times. Michael’s opposition has also taught me a lot about my own anger and,, when I am feeling stressed. What good techniques do I have to calm down? What negative techniques am I trying to change? On that note, here are 5 Ways to Handle Oppositional Behavior That I’ve Learned While Keeping Your Sense of Humour:

  1. Take a step back and breathe: Yes, this is the first thing to go when your child triggers you, but it is so important to take that five second pause and really see what your child is trying to communicate. Chances are however you will handle it, will be better once you have taken a little break to think things through.
  2.  Remember, it’s a stage: Yes, this is hard too, but often oppositional behavior is part of your child’s chronological development-during the terrible twos or threes (or later if they are developmentally delayed), then at puberty. They are discovering who they are and testing you at the same time. Have patience as they figure it out, and stay strong so you can guide them down the right path.
  3. They are funny when they get mad (sometimes): Ok, I’m not advocating laughing at your child when they are aggressive or acting dangerously. This is a serious act and needs to be handled calmly while proper ways to handle anger are taught. But for smaller matters of rebellion, keep a straight face, but on the inside remember that you too most likely went through your days of rebellion with your parents to assert yourself. As long as you learned how to calm down (and teach your child to do the same), good things will continue to happen.
  4. Talk to your Mom friends and share: This does not mean invading your child’s privacy and sharing all of what they do, but commiserating over some of the challenges you are presented with and exchanging resources (and maybe a laugh or two to get you both through), can work wonders at helping you feel better and eventually your child too as they learn what they need to do.
  5. You will survive this and grow stronger (and so will they): This has been the hardest lesson for me through all of Michael’s opposition. Yes, I love him, but it is sure easier to love him when he is cuddly and sweet and appreciative of me, and not this defiant tween with an attitude. He can be downright unpleasant and annoying when he is acting up, like all oppositional kids are. What I keep reminding myself, is that yes this too shall pass for him and me. We will both get through puberty and survive. In the case of parents going through the terrible twos etc. you will get through that phase too.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you find yourself laughing on the inside when your oppositional child is just plain out challenging you out of your mind? I know. It is easier said than done. Still, if you can see the humor in their antics knowing that deep down inside they are struggling and need to pass through this stage of development to get to the next one, things will go a lot more smoothly. Now, if oppositional behavior turns into aggression and is dangerous, this is no laughing matter. Then it is time to stay calm and seek outside help and support for yourself and your child. You and your Exceptional Child will only grow from every experience and people you meet along the way. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to an Exceptional Son with Autism, ADHD, OCD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.  

Backtalk from Your Exceptional Child- The Pros and Cons

There have been many things that have been exciting to see so far with Michael experiencing puberty-independence in how he organizes himself, his own opinion about things to an even greater degree than before, and his love of being around peers and sharing ups and downs with them. These are the good things. Then, sigh, there have been the cons of your exceptional child experiencing puberty. The main con I could attest to, has been the back tack. The back talk has been everything from swearing, closing doors when talking to his friends, and saying rude things to him amidst eye rolling for effect, just because he is asserting himself. What have been my feeling about this? I can say that it has been both exhilarating and frustrating. I am so glad to see Michael asserting himself, yet so annoyed that I am in enemy territory on some occasions. Still, there is hope. My son wants to spend time with me, and not only because of what I could give him (toys, rides, food). He genuinely wants a relationship with me. Tonight, he was upset that I was a little bit distracted  when he was telling me about his day and kept saying “look at me Mommy.” He also postpones talking to his friends on the phone most nights, so he can share his day with me. Ahh is all I can say. This feels good.

So what do I think make up the pros and cons of puberty in an exceptional family? Here are some of them:

PROS:

  1. Your child  is asserting themselves: Of course you want to make sure it is positive, but a child asserting what they believe is really good and something to aim for long term.
  2. They are developing as they should: Whether a child has special needs or not, puberty happens. If it is in full bloom, at least we know they are developing on track and can guide them according to their own abilities to handle life’s ups and downs.

CONS:

  1. You have to tolerate a whole new backlash of behavior: Sometimes when your child is struggling to find themselves they are harder on you. This means tolerating some testing behavior, being firm in when they have to apologize, and moving forward.
  2. You mourn the loss of your little boy/girl: You also have to acknowledge that your child is growing up and not a little boy/girl anymore. This is hard because they are in that in-between stage where they and you are still learning together. Be patient and forgiving. you will both get to the finish line eventually.

Exceptional Parents, if your Exceptional Child is in puberty has it been easy or difficult for you and them? Remember, it is a learning process for both of you, and when you are ready to meet them halfway, that is when things will flow a lot more smoothly. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

How To Show And Receive Respect From Your Exceptional Child

An amazing thing has been happening with Michael lately. He has been showing respect to me again as well as learning to respect himself in a whole new way. Puberty has not been easy for him thus far, and I have been told by many people that it will only get harder as he gets older. Apparently kids with autism and ADHD have a harder time in puberty. Also kids who have Type 1 Diabetes have their challenges, big ones, during these years too. I don’t consider these people fear mongers. I am grateful to all of them, professional and other Moms and Dads, who have told me this to help me continue to stay strong, advocate, and prepare Michael for the world in the best way I can. I know he will triumph. He is one strong kid, and I am one strong Mama! 🙂

This is not to take away from the fact that Michael has blown me away with the progress he has made in the last four months, but especially the last two, as he has moved away from using verbal and physical means to handle his anger. That’s not to say there have not been slip ups, but he is so conscious of them, apologizes, immediately starts using his strategies to calm down. He shows me how he is learning that giving in to anger is not the solution. He will often ask me if he is doing better. Am I happy with him? I tell him I am happy to see him using his tools, and yes, he is doing better. I will also repeat, that anger is ok. It is channeling anger in a destructive or dangerous way that is unacceptable. I think he is grasping that.

I also had this amazing conversation with him the other night where we talked about respect and love. I told Michael if he knew that I love him, even when I don’t say it. He said, “I know you love me Mommy. I always know.” I have seen him make mistakes with talking back to Dad and I, getting upset when something does not go his way, and catch himself about to launch into an aggressive tirade and stop. He asks if we can go places and spend time together. Can we go out to eat? He does not demand, but waits to see what works for me. I think all of this boils down to a slow process of learning self-soothing strategies, as well as recognizing that I am a separate human being with my own wants, needs and desires. For my part, I have also shown respect Michael’s way, with the new activities he wants to participate in, to his bedtime routine which we have altered as he has matured. The respect has to work both ways in order to be successful and so far, I am happy to say that things are getting better.

Exceptional Parents, do you respect your Exceptional Child? Do they respect you? Remember, it is  two way street of talking, establishing firm rules and boundaries that are clear, and also allowing some leeway when they are clearly feeling out of control and powerless. In the end, if you start with respect and love, you cannot go wrong. Until next time.

Feeling stuck as a parent? Wondering how you can manage parenting an exceptional child that does not come with an instruction manual? You are not alone. You have a unique experience ahead of you, and one that can shape you into something you never thought possible. I can help you on your journey. As an exceptional parent myself, I have been there and am continually there through my incredible son’s journey that just keeps growing. To learn more about how he is raising me, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

5 Ways To Build A Relationship With Your Exceptional Child

It does not matter how old they are or at what developmental stage they are at. Your exceptional child wants a relationship with you. What usually holds them back is difficulty with expressing themselves clearly and asking for what they need. But they want to be and feel close to you. Even if your child is a chatterbox, it is no guarantee that they will know how to explain what they need from you. So where can  a parent start to build the bridge? Here are 5 ways to build a relationship with your exceptional child:

  1. Build in play time from babyhood: It’s important that you find ways to interact with your child through playing basic interaction games with them to open up their world.
  2. Spend time reading to them: Reading books together (and later discussing said books) is a great way to bond. Talk and read at their level.
  3. Go places in the community together: It’s important that as long as extreme aggression or anxiety is not an issue, that you take your child out in the community both so that they can bond with you doing new things as well as learn about the people around them.
  4. Enjoy their interests as much as they do: Even if hearing about dinosaurs one more time makes you want to scream (been there, done that ;)) immerse yourself in it and enjoy it because your child does. You love your child, so you love what they love.
  5. Help them see that when they are stuck, you will help them: This seems like a no-brainer, but due to expressive and receptive language issues, anxiety, learning issues and a whole slew of other things, exceptional kids have so much on their plate. When problems come up (personal or school ones) they usually feel alone and explode. Make sure that you show them by words and action, that you are there to help them fix the problem and find a solution together.

Exceptional Parents, do you feel you are close to your Exceptional Child? If so, that’s great. If not, don’t be discouraged. You can always build  a relationship. As long as your child knows you love them for who they are and accept them with all their quirks (as they except you) you are off on the right track to build a long lasting relationship of love and trust with them for the rest of their life and yours. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

How Rewards Help Your Exceptional Child Have A Positive Attitude And Build For The Future

So the reward system we are using for Michael is really working well. He gets to earn “points” for different types of rewards which help him learn to listen better and control aggression. The points are determined by us after he picks the prize. He gets to choose the rewards, and as long as they are reasonable in nature and approved by us.  For Michael good rewards are certain little toys he wants to earn, long drives (which he needs to earn more points for), restaurant outings and time spent playing video games. The control he has in choosing the rewards or prizes as well as seeing the results of good behavior (he gets a fun treat), have been working beautifully.  When he does not cooperate or fulfill his listening and self-control components, he does not get the prize. This has also been teaching him how to behave better.

I have seen his behavior getting better due to this system, and most importantly, he has seen his behavior getting better. He will ask me from time to time, am I improving? Am I learning? He still does have moments where he makes poor choices and does not get his point, but more and more he is catching himself either right before making a poor choice or right after. And even if he loses his chance at the point, he is not losing the lesson. It is not easy and takes time to implement any kind of behavior system at home, but with time and patience parents can expect to see their child learning so much about their own behavior and the world around them. The other great thing is that parents themselves learn about their own behavior and what makes them tick. Don’t we all love to work for a fun reward or towards a goal? It is important to acknowledge that we too learn so much when our kids are learning. It works both ways and we can grow together.

Exceptional Parents, what does your Exceptional Child like to do for fun? What are their goals and dreams? By teaching them to self-regulate and practice self-control, you can also teach them how to dream and achieve goals that will bring them happiness and pride in themselves. Remember, while they are learning about this pride in themselves, you are learning to never stop believing in them either, as well as in yourself. We all can succeed when we put our minds to it. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

The Many Sides Of Your Exceptional Child- How To Handle Their Mood Swings

One minute Michael is my little boy for the briefest of seconds, then he morphs into “tween man,” as I like to call him. But even with this, there are still many sides of Michael that I see every day, and many things he is teaching me about me and life itself. It has been in navigating these changes, that I have learned how important it is for parents to be adaptable, to never stop learning, and to bend the old rules sometimes in favor of new rules. No, I am not saying to give into your child to avoid a meltdown. All parents have tried this and usually not had success in the end anyway. What I am saying is that your child, whatever their age, will demonstrate many sides of their character to you in a given day. As their parent, you need to be ready to handle all those sides. I know. It’s not always fun or easy, but that’s life and you will be teaching them a valuable skill.

What sides am I talking about? Well, first there’s the side of dependence where they are super clingy and want you to do things for them. This comes at any age when they ask you to pick up after them, prepare their clothes, pack their school bag. You slowly have to teach them independence and how to handle their own things. Then there is the rebellion stage where they will do things wrong on purpose just not to do them the way you do. It’s kind of like the two year old “I’m the boss of me” stage. You’ve also got to find ways to ride this one out picking your battles as long as they don’t affect safety, and work your way out to your child learning independence and listening to you as the adult in charge who makes the rules. Finally, there is the questioning if they are loved  and wanted stage, where they need reassurance from you that they are special. Sometimes they ask this of friends too. It is important you remind them that love of those around them matters, but that if they love themselves and know their own mind, it matters that much more.

If you are an Exceptional Parent, you must navigate all these stages while usually using reward charts, anger charts, as well as measuring the pros and cons of other behavior programs as well as medication changes. This means you are doing your well rounded job of parenting. It is all worth it in the end, as you will teach your child how to advocate for themselves and be truthful to all their challenging sides.

Exceptional Parents, how many sides does your Exceptional Child possess? It probably depends on the day. After all, some days are easier than others as far as stress and growing up are concerned. The most important thing is for you to remain calm as a parent, not take offence to what comes out of their mouth (they are only kids after all and testing is part of the game), and learn to show and exhibit patience and a firm hand so that they know where they stand with you and in the world. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Exceptional Tug of War-How To Love Your Exceptional Child Through Puberty

“Mommy, next time we go sledding I want to go with friends. I’ll have more fun then.”

For some reason these words hurt me deeply. I have always taken Michael on sledding play dates with close friends, but he and I have also had lots of fun sledding together. I am a parent that has always done a lot of sports and physical activities with Michael, like walking to parks and bike riding. So why now that he is growing up and wants to do more away from me (something I hoped and prayed for years ago when I was feeling stifled as an Exceptional Mom), am I now sad? Then as I thought about it, I had my answer. It seemed to happen overnight. I know. Puberty has been occurring over the course of a year. I saw the signs, and the first thing I thought was, thank goodness I spent time with Michael when I did. Soon, I will just be useful to him for drives or to give or pay him money for chores. But I digress. It still made me sad, as I realized, I did not know how to relate to my tween son in full blown puberty.

Don’t get me wrong. He still wants to share his day with me. He still wants to spend time talking to me about his classes, his friends, his big crush. But the little boy that loved to curl up in my lap with a book, now likes to talk to his friends on the phone and listen to music videos. He also likes to watch tv and play video games. Yes, I know. He is a teenager. What teenager likes to hang out with their Mom? Still, I want to find a way to still connect with him on subjects we could have in common. That is why when he announced his desire to only go sledding with friends, that I was hurt. We have ALWAYS connected on physical activity, and my big worry is that I will lose him opening up to me about his life if I lose doing activities with him. It’s already happened with going to church with me and reading. Now, if we can’t do sports together, will he still know I am there to turn to when times get rough?

Hopefully yes. So far he seems to  still hold me in high regard. We have had countless puberty talks where no subject has been too sensitive for me. I have purposely told Michael he can tell me ANYTHING and I mean it. I want him to know I am there for him through it all. I guess I worry about him losing who he is. He is so preoccupied right now with being like his friends, doing what they do, watching what they watch that I worry, will he have his own mind like he did when he was little? I have told him the story about “if a friend does something dangerous would you copy him because he is a friend, or would you try and stop him?” He only laughs as I used the “friend jumps off a bridge” analogy that my own mother used. I know he has autism and takes things literally, but in this case, he got the significance of it. He is very neuro typical in some ways, and I don’t want to underestimate his ability to understand things. So now I have to remind myself that he and I will always be close, even when another woman, one closer to his own age, has his heart one day. He may not go to church with me, but every night we pray together at bedtime. He may not read books with me, but he sees me reading and asks me questions about stories. He may not want to go sledding with me, but the other day asked if we could go for a walk together. My little boy still wants a relationship with his mother,  but understandably it is maturing as he is maturing. So I have determined that I will not panic, but trust that in his struggles and triumphs, he knows Mom has his back.

Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with your child pushing you away and then pulling you close? If so, it’s all normal. Remember, give them their space. Special needs or not, they are separate from you, and deserve their independence. Just make sure you show them every day how much you love them, and that you are always there for them no matter what. If they feel your love, they will always have a healthy relationship with you and themselves. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Separating Puberty from Exceptional Needs And Where To Find Your Child

Tonight was Parent/Teacher Night at Michael’s school. As usual, it was a good experience. Michael is a pleasure to teach, and the wonderful teachers and dedicated staff are doing everything possible to hone his strengths and help Michael with his weaknesses. I am also seeing something new coming out on his report card. The Michael present there is very similar to the Michael at home, that is, minus the aggression thank goodness and even that is getting better at home. Michael’s difficulty focusing on the task at hand and his anxiety when he catches himself are present in both places. Michael’s challenges with puberty are present in both places too. Sometimes it is cute and funny, as in the case of a crush he has developed on a staff member. Sometimes it is coming out in silliness or a bit of rebellion, such as getting carried away talking too much and some mild back tack, mostly directed at his parents. What I am noticing though for the most part, is a lot of this is all regular puberty stuff, away and apart from his exceptional needs. Then there are things like diabetes and his autism and ADHD which complicate puberty a little more.

In the end though, my child is caught somewhere in the middle. His teacher, a very compassionate and caring man, spoke of how challenging puberty is for ALL kids, whether they have special needs or not. He also spoke of how for Michael it will be more intense, due to his other challenges, but that he would come through it. I agreed. We all come through, puberty no matter what.  We need to all be aware of what is puberty, and what are his challenges. That is something I am gradually getting better at recognizing. A year and more ago it was so hard to find out where Michael’s true character was in all his conditions. Yes, they are a part of him, but they are not all him. Michael is Michael and would have been Michael with or without autism, ADHD, and type 1 diabetes. He, like all of us, is more than the sum of his parts. Never lose the child within. That is what I constantly remind myself of.

Remember, for educational and life purposes, sometimes having a label or labels on your child is helpful to get them the help and support they need in educational or work settings. But, their unique personality, the way they look at the world, their interests and passions, would most likely have been a part of their personality no matter what. As you get further on the exceptional parenting journey with them, you will see their true personality come out, and just as good, be able to see what is caused by their challenges and what is caused by other factors. This means you will finally be seeing your whole child. If you are extra lucky, you will have a teacher and educational team that will also support you in this effort. We have been and are lucky in this regard.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at looking at your child as a whole person and not a set of diagnoses? We are all guilty of seeing our children’s challenges and not the whole more than once in a while. It is normal. But once you start to see how life stage events like puberty  affect all kids, no matter how their brain works, you will begin to see your child in all their beauty for the first time. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com